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Open Government Advocacy Project:
Sergeant Brian Ficarra
 

Issue Detail:

 
October 19, 2012 Internal Affairs Unit Attn: Lieutenant Scott Wheeler Hackettstown Police Department 215 West Stiger St. Hackettstown, N.J. 07840 (via e-mail only to hpd27@hackettstownpd.net) RE: Sergeant Brian Ficarra Dear Lieutenant Wheeler: I chair the New Jersey Libertarian Party\'s Police Accountability Project and ask that you accept this letter as an Internal Affairs complaint. We would like your agency to investigate whether Sergeant Brian Ficarra and other personnel employed by your agency acted in accordance with department policy and the law regarding their October 26, 2008 arrest of Richard Sabatino. According to the Appellate Division\'s decision in State v. Richard Sabatino, Docket No. A-0565-09T4), Sergeant (then Patrolman) Ficarra stopped a vehicle driven by Mr. Sabatino\'s friend, who picked up a stumbling and apparently intoxicated Mr. Sabatino, to take him home. He then arrested Mr. Sabatino for \"disorderly conduct, being under the influence,\" took him to local hospital where he searched him and found two bags of suspected heroin. The Appellate Division found that Ficcara did not have probable cause to arrest Sabatino and that the bags of heroin needed to be \"suppressed as the fruit of the poisonous tree.\" The court also found that Ficcara was not authorized to arrest Sabatino for not wearing a seat belt or for jaywalking. Particularly disturbing is Ficcara\'s excuse for not issuing Sabatino summonses for jaywalking and not wearing a seatbelt, as opposed to arresting him. According the the opinion, Ficcara testified that he didn\'t have a summons book with him. As noted in a footnote at page 16 of the opinion, Ficcara \"could have taken defendant\'s address and identifying information and mailed a summons after [he] retrieved a summons form.\" Ficcara\'s improper conduct resulted in the Appellate Division suppressing the fruits of his search and will almost certainly lead to Sabatino\'s acquittal and possibly expose the Hackettstown to a civil suit. In addition to determining whether rules or laws may have been violated, we ask that you determine if there were training and policy failures within your agency as they relate to this incident. Please acknowledge your receipt of this complaint, investigate and notify us of the outcome. Sincerely, John Paff, Chairman New Jersey Libertarian Party Police Accountability Project P.O. Box 5424 Somerset, NJ 08875-5424 Phone: 732-873-1251 - Fax: 908-325-0129 Email: paff@pobox.com cc: Chief James A. Macaulay (via e-mail only to hpd29@hackettstownpd.net

 

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New Jersey Libertarian Party Open Government Advocacy Project: Sergeant Brian Ficarra. October 19, 2012.
URL: http://ogtf.lpcnj.org/2012/2012293Y7/
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